Melody Prochet picked up where she left off, returning to Scala for her first London show in almost ten years to the day
On a rainy, midweek evening in March, Melody Prochet filled the room of the Scala with such a kaleidoscopic sonic blast it left her audience wondering, Quand vas tu rentrer? The year was 2013, but it was also 2023, as Melody’s Echo Chamber returned last night to the same London venue for her first show in the city in almost ten years to the day. It’s a neat piece of time-warping, given the French singer’s psychedelic sound and interest in visions, reflections and other metaphysical musings.
Prochet toured in the early 2010s around the release of her acclaimed Kevin Parker-produced 2012 debut, but in the second half of the decade seemed to step away from the stage, eventually moving to Sweden and then the French Alps to start a family. A serious injury also threatened to conclude her music career, but Prochet still released her second album, Bon Voyage, in 2018 before Emotional Eternal and Unfold in 2022.
So, though there would hardly be a more fitting number for the unlatching of a time portal than set opener ‘Endless Shore’, Prochet enters with a new armoury of dynamic material at hand. ‘The Hypnotist’ drifts with a scintillating, In Rainbows-eque shuffle before dropping into a stoned, Gainsbourg-like passage of breathy spoken word. A string section worthy of a medieval banquet brings ‘Personal Message’ to life despite being played off a sample pad. ‘Unfold,’ written and recorded shortly after the release of her debut but only recently uncovered, sounds familiar and at home among classics such as ‘Crystallized’ and ‘Quand Vas Tu Rentrer?’.
If you’re going to recruit a band to help you play amped-up, melodic psych rock jams, you could do a lot worse than hiring members from Swedish stalwarts Dungen and The Amazing. Reine Fiske and Fredrik Swahn alternate from guitar, keyboards and bass with modest ease, despite some of the towering sounds they create. Fiske points for his bass to be turned up even more before a thunderous solo on the fractal frenzy of ‘Bisou Magique’. Rare glimpses of Prochet’s face from behind her Birkin bangs reveal a state of glee as she hugs her tambourine and sways across the stage.
A shout should also be made for the sound tech, who translates the crisp and hissing drums, crunchy guitars and controlled chaos on the likes of closer ‘Cross My Heart’ as fluently as Prochet flits between English and French. Most importantly, the levels for her airy and lustrous vocals are on point so that she hardly has to strain to give her melodies buoyancy.
Tonight Prochet heads to Paris, which by definition would have more sway as a homecoming show, but with palpable anticipation and mutual appreciation, her return to Scala tonight sure felt like one.